Medicine as a Lifestyle: Natural Cosmetics Workshop

Natural Cosmetics Workshop 
CERES Environment Park 
5th June 2016   

cos·met·ic
käzˈmedik/
adjective
  1. 1
    involving or relating to treatment intended to restore or improve a person's appearance
One of my missions during this workshop was to shift focus from pure cosmetic focus, to a more holistic approach based on Rewilding, Permaculture and Herbalism. 
Our society is so based on aesthetics and cosmetic value; we are bombarded with billboards and advertisements luring us towards (Chemical) products which are mass-produced and create environmental degradation through extraction, laboratory testing, embodied energy and chemical waste. Our own personal environments are polluted as we reprimand ourselves for not being beautiful enough; our self-esteem is plagued by the media catastrophe owned by companies with their best interests in mind. If we have low self-esteem, we will reach out for quick fixes, often in an insatiable attempt to be loved. 

Although I myself am not impervious to the aesthetic pressures of society, I am trying to reframe the way I think about myself, others and my Environment. 

This workshop was not about creating products for skin-deep beauty, it was an attempt to facilitate a change in how people think about such things, as we explored the lifestyle one requires for a radiant appearance.


All products were designed to be medicinal to some degree, or have a purpose for deeper healing. 
We discussed the modern Western lifestyle, and using Sleep, Sun, Diet and Movement as nutrients that lead to vitality and looking your best. Companies can't sell you sleep. One of the easiest things to do is get more rest, and yet we are worked to the ground, trapped inside this productivity mind-set, using more technology and more techniques to move faster and faster to DO MORE... and then we are sold products as band-aid or symptomatic solutions; Foundations for pale skin, Concealer for bags under the eyes etc. 
If we learn to listen to the rhythms of our bodies, we can look and feel delicious!


After experiencing my fair share of burnout last year, I decided to start rewilding myself more and instead of just focusing on the productivity (walking in nature, trying to make fire with a hand-drill, foraging for wild foods etc.) I decided to turn myself into the rhythms of nature properly, and start to try and live more like my hunter-gardener ancestors did. 
Since making that decision, I have been looking into movement therapy, making it a regular part of my routine to not only do some kind of exercise (I usually participate in Hiit Training), but to actually MOVE. Get up from my desk and MOVE, do some yoga and MOVE, climb a tree and MOVE, stretch it out and MOVE... I have been exploring primitive movement and how our bodies need many times of movement to be mobile, healthy and functional. 
I have also started using sleep as a nutrient, especially in the colder, darker months of Autumn and Winter. I have paid attention to my body.... 8:30pm and I'm tired? Awesome, I'm going to sleep! 5:30am and I am awake? Great, I'll get up and sit in the darkness before dawn and drink tea and contemplate the horizon. Its a great practice, and I have been reading books on the science of sleep and how to have a better sleep practice. 
For example, when cortisol levels are down, melatonin levels are up, meaning if we increase stress levels (even in the form of exercise) before bed, we are decreasing our melatonin, which is needed for healthy sleep. 
Sleep helps us repair our cells, helps us retain information, helps us to actually stay fit! 
I am loving the Winter at the moment, as its one of the first years I have given myself permission to rest and recover. 

I am learning so much about wellbeing, for myself and for the Earth. (Its really all the same). 

During this workshop I shared what I have been learning, in the form of lifestyle techniques and the making of delicious products good enough to eat!


Although it was important for me to touch on these aspects, we did move into the making quite quickly, as I know there are many kinaesthetic learners out there that need to get their hands dirty!  

During the workshop we made: 

- Stimulating Coffee and Orange Body Scrub 
- Foot Cream for Circulation using Cayenne, Black Pepper and Ginger. 
- Nourishing Face Cream for sensitive skin using Marshmallow root and Calendula. 
- Cleansing Tooth Powder using Clay and oils of sage, frankincense and peppermint. 
- Anti-Viral Lip Balm using Lemon Balm and Rosewood.



There were 5 stations set up so that groups of 4 could rotate, and all materials, equipment and recipes were provided at each station. Each station was explained during the start of the day, and after that groups were encouraged to get in there and follow the recipes, while I dotted around the room asking questions, providing information and checking if anyone needed a hand.



This way participants were able to all have a go in a small group environment, rather than it being like a cooking show with me staring, displaying the methods and creation of products. People learn from doing. Its a lot of pre-planning to ensure all the ingredients are there, each station has the necessary equipment, everything is calculated right to ensure there is enough for each person in the group and the recipes are written out (with each ingredient calculated correctly for the number of people in the group), but I find this way so much more interactive and fun!



Participants could take photos of recipes provided, and I created a small 'Zine' with the recipes and information about herbs, lifestyle and what chemicals to avoid in products. Some people need to write things, some people need to read things, most need to do things... this small token of information meant participants could concentrate on the tasks at hand, knowing the ingredients and methods were supplied for them. 

The workshop was sold out this time, and I look forward to facilitating more in the future, pushing the boundaries of how we can make and use cosmetics, and how we can assist the development of the species through caring for our health, esteem and wellbeing. 

I do envision a different world for the next generation, one that does not place profit at the cost of the Environment, one that does not purposefully guilt and shame people for the individuality they have to offer, a world where children can grow up confident, radiant, full of love for themselves and others. 

This workshop was but a small contribution to that world...

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